As the Head of Randstad’s Learning & Development (L&D) division, we sat down with Megan Hughes to get an exclusive insight into her plans for the SEA region. She also talks to us about the role that L&D plays as a pull factor for attracting the market’s top talent, and training developments for senior-level Randstad employees.
What are some of the main learning and development initiatives that you’ve implemented for 2017?
The two key regional initiatives launched in 2017 to date have been the relaunch of the senior consultant training series and the launch of the new principal consultant training series.
In an effort to keep up with industry demands and the evolving skillset requirements of our senior consultants, a six module training course covering key competencies such as sales, strategic planning, presentation and personal brand building was introduced to revamp the senior consultant training series.
We have recognized that not all career paths lead to managing staff, giving rise to the principal consultant role. No training programs were set in place to support principal consultants, which is why we launched a series specifically targeted at their requirements. The program covers competencies such as strategic solutions sales, presentation skills and leadership in non-management roles. It also involves regional travel to broaden their knowledge of the Randstad business and build stronger networks with their peers.
How does L&D vary across each of the SEA markets you oversee?
We try to ensure that the core L&D programs are consistent across all three countries. As we strive towards creating greater symmetries across the region, we aim for our L&D programs to do the same, so that no matter where you join Randstad in South East Asia, the experience will be the same. Naturally, each country has its own nuances and challenges so there is always an element where the training needs to be adapted based on local needs.
People generally focus on the internal training of junior recruiters, but can you tell us about Randstad training initiatives for the senior consultants?
Training is important at every level in our business, and while junior level training programs may be delivered more frequently, it doesn’t detract from the importance of training our more experienced employees. To support the senior recruiters we have training programs for them depending on whether they chose to stay in a sole contributor role or to move down the path of Team Lead and Manager allowing greater flexibility for our senior consultants to craft their career the way that suits them best.
How important would you say training is as a pull factor to attract top talent in the market? How does Randstad differentiate itself in terms of the training and development initiatives that it offers to employees?
Across all three markets we see that there is a strong desire from people to upskill and develop themselves and understand how and when they will receive training in their roles. If this is not offered in their current company then it definitely becomes a key criterion when they decide to look for a new opportunity. They are not only looking for training, they want to understand how the training will support them as they progress through the organization. This is why at Randstad we have seen a strong correlation in our ability to secure top talent having invested heavily in our L&D functions in each country. Moving forward, the investment into our employees will remain as a key retention and talent attraction strategy.
You started at Randstad as a manager for the Sales & Marketing desk, and you’re currently the Head of Learning & Development. How did this move come about?
Around six to seven years ago, before my move to Singapore, I found out that my interests lie in training and developing people. At that stage, I was working in a managerial role at a different company and decided to invest my time in gaining a certification in Training & Assessment by studying in my free time. After a year, I moved to Singapore and when interviewing with potential employers I made my L&D ambitions clear. Randstad saw this as positive. However, as the business wasn’t quite ready at that stage for a full time L&D professional, I took up the role of managing the Sales & Marketing division at the start. This ended up being a great opportunity for me to learn about the business in a hands-on managerial role. After twelve months, I was rewarded with the opportunity to restart the L&D function as the business moved into a high growth phase. I couldn’t be happier working in an L&D function within a company and industry that I love!
How often do you travel for business as part of your regional role responsibilities?
I travel approximately every 3rd or 4th week, dependent on any regional training programs that we have running. Ideally I like to be in each business every other month so that I maintain my understanding of their business and build on the relationships and networks that I have there. When I travel I try to ensure that I spend 2-3 days minimum in the country, as I find that this way you get a better feel for the business. In addition, people are more inclined to speak and share what’s going on when I’m not just ‘flying in and flying out’.
To get in touch with Megan, visit her LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hughesmegan/